Most businesses spend a fair amount of time assessing their competition. Annual marketing plans include in depth analyses of competitive strengths and weaknesses, and detailed tactics to leverage opportunity and minimze risk against competitors. Even solo and small practices devote resources to competitive intelligence. Yet, in two decades of business experience, I have never heard a single consumer proclaim:
Help! Every company is excellent, operating at the highest standards, possessing all the knowledge that is possible in this area, doing the right thing and perfectly suited to all of my needs and desires.
So, why I wonder do we spend so much time on the competition and so little on the people who need our services?
I’m not suggesting that competititve intelligence does not have its place. We can learn from our competitors, adopt best practices and gain insight that helps us to improve our business. However, we should not seek to be our competition, or even covet their customers. If we focus on uncovering and leveraging our own distinctions to delight our ideal market, we will create our own niche.
Competition does not destroy your business. Yes, there are many historical examples that would seem to validate that I am wrong. However, I must ask, was it really the competition or were there other factors at play, such as failing to correctly identify and position a clear market value, inaccurate targeting, lack of innovation?
If you are contemplating a new venture or direction and worried that there’s too much competition, I would advise you’re focused on the wrong thing. Competition is awesome! There’s awareness and a stated need from the market, hooray! Some of your “competitors” have leaped in to take advantage of market opportunity, others are highly skilled but will fail miserably at staking their claim, a small percentage will be highly successful and expert in the space. But none of them are you. This is your secret weapon, what Sonia and Brian call The X Factor.
A solid, well thought out plan + The X Factor = World Domination (okay not really but your own little piece of it)
Take your eyes off the competition and put them on you and your customers, it is a decision you will not regret.
Are there any businesses that you support because of their “X” factor? Or are you a business that markets their X factor. I’d love to hear your experiences.
If you are a freelancer copywriter and need help discovering your “X” Factor click here to view more details on the Freelance X Factor Course (This is an affiliate link, if you prefer to purchase from a non-affiliate link, hop over to Copyblogger.com and you can still buy the course, no hard feelings!)
If you are a business leader struggling to find your distinction, send me an email at karenswim at gmail dot com.